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Thread: Tub leaks only when holding water

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  1. #1

    Default Tub leaks only when holding water - PICTURES ATTACHED

    Odd question from a plumbing newbie... Hopefully, someone can give me some advice.

    I have an upstairs shower/tub which seems to work find in every respect other than it leaks when I flip the little lever up to hold the water in when I run a bath. Not when I run a shower, not when I actually drain the bath, just when holding water and even after having turned the tap off so no new water is filling up the tub.

    I discovered this when I filled the tub right before the last snow storm we had. As usual, I wanted to have a few gallons of water on hand (tub filled about half way) in case the power went out and I needed some to flush the toilets while the pump wasn't working.

    I have about half access to the pipes under the tub through the false ceiling in the basement. That is where it leaked down the drain pipe an stained the ceiling tile. I say half access because there is a beam which goes about an inch away from the pipe so it is hard to access everything, but I can at least look at it.

    As I know nothing about plumbing, I'm wondering if it is possible for something to leak while the tub is holding water (a washer or something?) and not when it is draining or the shower is running. In fact, the way I stopped it leaking last time is to just let the water runout and it stopped almost immediately while it took another 5 minutes for the tub to drain completely.

    I've attached two pics. A is shows the underside of the tub, pipes, and the beam in the way as well as the various "drip trails" of the leak. Pic B shows a bit of a closeup of where I thought the leak was coming from initially (notice the clear "goop caulking stuff" I put on in the hopes that it was from the join of those two pipes, but that was before I realized it leaks when holding water and the "drip trails" are obviously too spread out to be from there... I think. Any ideas of where it may be coming from?

    While I'm at it, I'll also ask if anyone knows where on the web I can see a diagram of a tubs plumbing (odly I can't seem to find one) as I'll most likely need to refer to it when I read the advice!

    Thanks again for helping out a complete beginner...

    Attached Images Attached Images   
    Last edited by jandn; 03-21-2007 at 05:30 PM. Reason: I didn't realize I could attach Pics.

  2. #2


    The only thing that could account for this (imho) is that the drain flange in your tub is not sealed properly and it takes a lot of water pressure to cause it to leak. You'll need to remove the flange and put a circle of plumber's putty around the underside and then screw it back on. Use the "smart dumbell" tool for this job with a crescent wrench for torque.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by Verdeboy; 03-25-2007 at 11:17 PM.


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